Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Acquisition - 3

My second interview was with Kevin Morris, with whom I'd had some previous contact in the context of our tiny startup's occasional projects in partnership with the enormous company. In those interactions he'd seemed remote, brusque, somewhat imperious. He'd dart in and out of e-mail threads with prickly requests and seldom reply to those of others. Now here we were in a tiny, windowless room. Kevin gazed to his left and skyward before responding to any question, and sometimes while formulating questions of his own. His right leg fidgeted like crazy. He had white hair; cold, blue eyes and the faintest trace of a lisp.

He lifted his head and, wide-eyed, seemed to scrutinize an imaginary breach in the drop-panel ceiling revealing the secret lair of a race of dark and hunching man-beasts who peered back at him with immobile, glinting eyes, computing the cost-benefit of fight versus flight; or the building's foam-sprayed steel beams, its truest inner nature either way.

"Mmmm..." he hummed, his right leg going. Then he turned to look me in the eye.

"Do you have any questions for me?" he asked, fingers poised over his keyboard.

It had to be a trick, a trap. A mindfuck. If I don't have any questions, they'll know. But what does the questioned ask his questioner?

"Sure, I said. "How did this idea come about? The acquisition."

Kevin did not move his head. The corners of his mouth curled into a vaguely lascivious smile.

"The acquisition," he said, "was my idea."